Album of the Week: Grandaddy, 'Last Place'

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Grandaddy, 'Last Place'
Grandaddy, 'Last Place' (30th Century Records)
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Given that more than a decade has passed since the last proper Grandaddy release, you would be right to be cautious in expectation, skeptical that this new effort might be worth your time. We are a generation that has had a front-row seat for some of the most opportunistic cash-ins in music history. There have been innumerable "comebacks" that, while enjoyable, still felt at least a little empty.

Luckily, even in this particularly coarse and mercenary age, there are people like Jason Lytle, frontman and primary brain behind Grandaddy. Not only is he more passionately cynical than you or I imagine we might be, he also has a unique gift for expressing our Modern Despair in a warm, even charming, manner. That's the "good news."

The "bad news" is this is a "divorce record." But let's not get too far ahead in the story…

Tiring of life on the road and the ever-elusive commercial breakthrough, Lytle dissolved Grandaddy in late 2005. He then moved to Montana, where he recorded and released a couple of solid solo records. In 2012, Grandaddy reunited briefly for several summer festivals, giving rise to rumors that maybe they were ready to give it another go. But it would be a few more years before Lytle would relocate to Portland, Ore., to begin writing and recording the songs that would ultimately shape the sound of Last Place. Sadly, it was during this hectic, trying time that Lytle's marriage collapsed. When it rains, it pours.

The snarky sarcasm and irony of one's 30s becomes all too palpable through the inevitable, ever-sharpening focus of middle age. Still, the album is never a true bummer. The warm, analog synths swaddle some of the snappiest pop melodies the band have ever released. This album is nostalgic, reflective, and, on most levels, hopeful. But the message is clear: Darkness abounds. Defeat awaits us at every corner. Maybe nothing will ever be easy … but, we still have no choice but to move on. The best that we can.

Maybe the same thing can be said for Grandaddy. Welcome back, fellas.

Resources


Grandaddy - official site

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